Senior Bowl 2012: 5 Players with Most to Prove
The 2012 Senior Bowl is just days away, and NFL Draft prospects are going to use the opportunity to play in the game as a way to gain national exposure and impress NFL scouts one last time (especially those who were not invited to the scouting combine).
Some of the players are projected to be taken very early in the draft, while a few guys aren't even expected to be drafted at all.
Obviously, some players need to have a stellar day more than others. So, who are the players under the most pressure to produce?
There are guys at every position that need to pick up their games, and here are five at different positions that are at the top of that list.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
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We have all heard the knocks on Kellen Moore. Some say he doesn't have a strong enough arm for the NFL, or that he played against weak secondaries.
But Moore gets it done when he needs to.
If it wasn't for a missed field goal against TCU, then Moore would have led Boise State to an undefeated season (granted they would have played a different bowl game).
He finished his career 50-3 with a 69.3 completion percentage, 142 touchdowns and just 28 interceptions
Moore is projected to be taken very late in the NFL Draft. In fact, CBSSports.com expects Moore to be the 12th quarterback picked, as late as the seventh round.
Moore needs to come out and show that he can throw the ball well against elite defenders, but if NFL scouts haven't been swayed by his performance thus far, who knows what will change their minds.
Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian State
Like Kellen Moore, Brian Quick has a lot to prove because of the talent he was up against game in and game out.
Quick played at Appalachian State, and if he went to a big time school, he could have been a definite first round selection.
Quick is still projected by CBSSports.com as the last of three to five wide receivers taken in the second round (seventh receiver overall), but he could solidify his second round status with a strong performance in the Senior Bowl.
With great hands and standing at 6'3", 222 pounds, Quick won't fall far from his projected spot if he has a bad day.
However, if he has a poor showing and is held in check by solid secondaries, then he could slip to the third round (wide receiver is one of the deepest positions in this year's draft).
Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama
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After two marijuana possession charges, Janoris Jenkins was dismissed from the Florida Gators and landed at North Alabama.
Before he left the Gators, he was one of the best players on the roster.
Jenkins not only has to reassure teams that his days of getting into trouble are behind him, but he has to prove that he didn't lose a step playing against less talented competition.
Even after getting into trouble and switching schools, Jenkins is still considered one of the elite players at his position. Some mock drafts have him as one of the first few cornerbacks selected, while CBSSports.com has Jenkins going in the first or second round as the fourth cornerback taken.
If Jenkins can prove he is still dominant against top-notch competition, he could earn an even bigger paycheck.
Brian Linthicum, TE, Michigan State
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Brian Linthicum didn't have the ball thrown to him a whole lot while at Michigan State.
His best showing was this season when he grabbed 31 receptions for 364 yards including a breakout performance against Georgia in the Outback Bowl where he had seven catches for 115 yards.
He was third on the team in both receptions and yards this season.
At 6'4", 245 pounds Linthicum has the physique and talent to make it in the NFL. Every once in a while he can even make an amazing catch, but after his 2010 arrest he has been labeled as risky.
Linthicum wasn't even invited to the NFL scouting combine. CBSSports.com has him projected in the fourth round as the seventh tight end taken.
With a solid game in the Senior Bowl, Linthicum's draft stock could be on the rise.
Kelechi Osemele, OL, Iowa State
Kelechi Osemele is an imposing presence at 6'6", 347 pounds, and the Iowa State offensive lineman is extremely athletic for his size.
During his career, Osemele played at both the guard and tackle positions. Due largely to his size, he is projected to be a guard in the NFL.
CBSsports.com has him being taken in the second round as the fourth guard selected.
Osemele may not be able to cement his status as a first round pick, but he can put the questions about his talent to rest with a great showing in the Senior Bowl.